Close call: Pumps go up in flames

By Kevin Halpern rhalpern@civitasmedia.com

August 16, 2014

Cumberland police are investigating a fire which burned two gas pumps at the Marathon station on U.S. 119 Saturday evening.

According to eyewitness accounts, a blue Impala occupied by a man and a woman turned into the station, made a wide circle, and ran into one of the pumps.

The Impala then proceeded to push that pump into another pump on the other side of the station, in the process clipping the rear of a Jeep Cherokee which was parked on the other side of the first pump.

Both pumps caught fire. A worker at the station quickly turned off power to the pumps, and the Cumberland Fire Department arrived on scene to extinguish both blazes.

“I was standing at Pump No. 2 about to get gas when they (the occupants of the Impala) came driving through and made a wide turn and hit the other side (Pump No. 1) and knocked it across to the other side and then their car came through and clipped mine and then they drove a little ways before coming to a stop,” Bud Witt, driver of the Cherokee, said.

“I was wading through fire and I said I better get my car out of here or else it would have gone up in flames too,” Witt added.

Raymond Phillips, who works at the Marathon station in Harlan, said he was driving by on U.S. 119 when he saw the Impala make a wide turn and run into the first pump.

“I immediately went in to make sure everything was turned off but it already had been,” Phillips said. “It could have been a lot worse but it does not look like anybody got hurt.”

There was no damage to the station other than that done to the pumps.

The incident is being investigated by Cumberland police officers Cody Bargo and Mark Saylor. Kentucky State Police Trooper Brandon Burton is assisting in the investigation.

It has not been determined at this time who was driving the Impala, or whether any charges will be filed.